Sioux Falls Skyforce Hot Start Preceded by Others
Over 28 seasons, you would be surprised at how many times the Sioux Falls Skyforce have gotten off to an 8-2 start. It shows how successful they have been for almost three decades.
Surprisingly, one of them was not last year when they set the record for wins in the NBADL. Sioux Falls dropped their first two then ripped off seven in a row before losing on the road at Rio Grande Valley to drop to 7-3 a year ago. That’s a tie for the eighth-best 10-game start in franchise history.
The 2016-17 edition marks the fifth time that after ten games, the Skyforce have amassed exactly eight wins. What happens from here will take 40 more games to determine, but most likely a lot of good things are bound to happen.
1995-96: (8-2) - In Hall of Famer Mo McHone’s first year at the helm it was Reggie Jordan, Henry James and Mike Williams providing the firepower. Not only was it the year for the team’s first CBA Championship, but it was also a struggle through the middle of the season. By late February the team was 23-20 before regaining that early season mojo.
2004-05: (8-2) - Future NBA Head Coach Dave Joeger flourished to start his tenure in Sioux Falls. With a foundation of DeSean Hadley, Randy Livingston, Jerome Beasley and David Bailey this team also went through the midseason doldrums, but willed their way to a second CBA title.
Frank Williams, Bobby Jones, Gary Forbes and Carl Elliot were the ringleaders behind a hot start. From there, a 6-12 slide sent the ‘Force toward a 25-25 record before Nate Tibbetts moved on to be the Head Coach in Tulsa.
2013-14: (8-2) - Miami took over basketball operations and sent Pat Delany to lead the way from the bench. DeAndre Liggins, Larry Drew II and Justin Hamilton flew out of the gate to propel Sioux Falls to the playoffs after a three-year absence before falling in the Eastern Conference finals.
2016-17 (8-2) - Fresh off a D-League record 40 wins and a title, here we are again. Nevada Smith has found a way to work around injuries with stellar play from Briante Weber, Keith Benson and Okaro White. There certainly is a little bit of magic in those 8-2 beginnings. Believe it or not there are a couple other seasons that were better in Skyforce lore.
1996-97 (10-0) - The season after winning their first CBA crown, Sioux Falls wanted to prove it was no fluke. Thirteen straight wins courtesy of the exploits from Devin Gray, Stevin Smith and Henry James heightened expectations for a repeat date with the champagne. Alas Sioux Falls was bounced out of the playoffs by Omaha in the first round.
2001-02 (9-1) - Paul Woopert was the right man to usher in a new CBA era after the league’s collapse and subsequent resurrection. Led by Leon Smith, Silas Mills and Leonard White Sioux Falls roared out of the gate. By season’s end the Rockford Lightning was the better squad in the semifinal round.